Using AI in the Contact Center to Improve Customer Service
May 20, 2021
Digital customer service is no longer an option, but a necessity. Many companies are investing in automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to deflect calls and reduce operational costs, but at what cost to customer experience and satisfaction? Before you rush to implement new technologies, don’t neglect the footwork that must be done before implementation. Step 0 is to evaluate the customer journey today on your service channels, identify the root cause of any problems, evaluate how AI will solve those issues, and determine how you’ll measure improvement. Let’s unpack “Step 0”.
Identify Opportunities for Improvement
You shouldn’t implement contact center automation and AI until you know WHERE these technologies would be effective. Evaluating the customer interactions occurring on phone and digital channels to determine points of friction, reasons for contact, audience demographics, and so forth enables you to identify customer pain points and make informed decisions about where AI and automation should be implemented in your organization. You should not use a one-size-fits-all mentality for AI or automation. It is crucial to utilize a text analytics tool that allows you to pull insights from all sources of feedback, solicited or unsolicited, to support your decision making.
Choose a Solution
After you’ve decided WHERE automation and AI can best serve your business needs, you also need to figure out WHAT it is you want to implement. If your customer experience analysis revealed that customers prefer self-service or texting rather than speaking with an agent to resolve simple issues, you’ll need a digital customer service platform that can handle the multitude of chatbot, live chat, and messaging channels consumers expect and use today. Your run-of-the-mill CRM system or Unified Agent Desktop environment might support one or two of these channels, but to be anywhere and everywhere your customers prefer, you’ll need a system designed specifically for digital customer care.
Perhaps your CX analysis uncovered pain points coming from interactions with specific contact center agents. Maybe you’ve determined that quality of service on phone or digital channels needs to be improved. This is a key process ripe for automation. Rather than manually evaluating a random sampling of agent conversations, you can use automation and AI to score all agent interactions based on supervisor-defined criteria so that you can identify coaching opportunities and noncompliance.
Your business must find a solution that lets you automate what ought to be and leave in human hands what needs to be. This way, your employees can focus on more complex customer and employee needs while positively impacting both employee and customer experiences.
Optimize Your Solutions
Once you have implemented your chosen automation or AI solutions, it is vital that you measure effectiveness. Not only does monitoring your solution’s performance help validate its return on investment, but you can also spot any unforeseen opportunities for improvement. For example, implementing a chatbot requires purposeful analysis of the various reasons a customer may be reaching to your business. If your customers keep getting stuck in a loop with your chatbot on certain subjects, you will need to refine your chatbots to improve resolution outcomes and prevent channel-hopping. You can analyze chatbot conversations at scale using Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to identify problems and continuously train and “humanize” your bots.
Customer service in a digital age is rapidly transforming. At Clarabridge, we have developed a customer experience management platform with CX Analytics Engage that aims to address customers’ service needs in a changing world. The future is written in AI, and we are committed to writing part of that story with our customers.
If you’re still wondering, “do I need a man or a machine?” please feel free to download the Forrester’s How AI and Automation Drive Better Customer Experiences.
Rachad Davis is the Digital Content Marketing Manager for Clarabridge. For over 7 years, Rachad has managed communications programs in the transportation, healthcare and SAAS fields. In his current role, he works to highlight Clarabridge as a thought leader and the industry standard in the Customer Experience Management market. Rachad holds a B.A. in Journalism from Lynchburg College and an M.A. in Strategic Communication from Liberty University. Read more from Rachad on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/rachaddavis.